Seriously, Seriously… you barred one of the most liberal, most experienced, allied Congress people from speaking at your rally/organizational meeting/group hug/ hippie hook up/it’s nice outside and I don’t feel like going home event.

I have to ask are you just ill-informed or  willfully stupid?

I was going to give the Occupy Atlanta folks a lot of slack, seriously I was. But then you let a handful of outliers jack the “organizational meeting” on Friday night. Ok, so now I’m not willing to cut you any leeway, zero, zippo, nadda.

I want to know WTF are your demands? What are your goals and objectives? What kind of expectation should we have with your “movement” Huh, Huh…I’m going out on a limb and to say none. That’s right none. Just like last fall when you crashed the “One Nation Working Together” rally with your black skinny jeans, garbage bag flags on sticks, and your not quite coincidentally perfect orthodonture (I’m going to guess not *everyone* was an anarchist in your family). Cause yeah nothing says “Democratic process” like anarchists.

Instead of thinking you might be on to something, and possibly still have stars in your eyes about how sh*t really works , now I’m overtly hostile to you and your dumbass movement.

Hey, all hope isn’t lost, you “might” get me to care when you join the small “d” democratic process and put your big boy/girl pants on and support organizations that are slugging it out every damn day. Organizations like the National Center for Transgender Equality, Common Cause, NAACP, League of Women Voters,  LAMDA Legal, SPLC, and 9 to 5.

Thank God Congressman John Lewis can see you for what your BS really is, after all he wrote an entire book about a movement and moment politics.  I’m sure he was chuckling to himself the whole way home…” thank you Jesus I’ve been there and done that and actually “HAVE THE T-SHIRT”. But ya know what fake ass anarchists/activists, he’s probably got more love in his heart for you and your efforts than I do.

He’s a better person than me, I already know it.

So as we say in the south… “bless your heart” but I’m from Jersey, so I say Bitch Please.

{UPDATE} I now learn that I’m supposed to know that there is a Occupy Atlanta group, and Occupy Wall Street Atlanta group. According to one tweet the OWSAtlanta is  “apathy stricken”.  Tell me again why I should join this process?

 

47 Responses to Occupy Atlanta. Good idea, bad implementation

  1. JMPrince says:

    Amen. Other than that, a frustratingly incoherent but almost thoughtful response to general concerns here. Reminds me of misbegotten days trying to teach. There’s reams of real history people might consult here too. I’d put it down to a ‘learning experience’ and hope things (messages, aims, goals, working with allies) might improve soon. But common courtesy, real decency and simple rationality? Evidently the markets and our political system were not the only ones failing you here either. JMP

  2. Anon says:

    I also think it is important that we realize a few things.

    First, John Lewis is a man and an individual. I say this as a person who literally cried for him when he was called a nigger at the Capitol during the Health Care debate and can honestly say that meeting him is one of the highlights of my life. He is inspiring and has worked his whole life for the betterment of oppressed people. The movement is large than any single individual. Also, I think the movement is about recognizing that no single individual is better than another. I would let John Lewis speak at my event – I’d probably pay for his plane ticket and fetch Water out of a well so he would have something to drink if I had to.

    However, this movement is trying to fight the whole concept of “higher people” inherently having a microphone and a platform that the other 99% of us do not have. Again, I put higher people in “‘s because I don’t think (nor do I want to imply) that John Lewis thinks of himself in some arrogant form – the man is one of the most humble I have ever known. However, I think it is important to recognize that letting a Congressman (even one so honored as Lewis) show up at the General Assembly unannounced, uninvited and then giving him the floor is part of the very thing this whole protest is against. I think Lewis understands that, given the number of post-incident interviews that have been conducted with him.

    Second, I believe there is a sincere fear of the groups around the US being taken over by politicians – the very ones they are fighting that have been bought by wall street. The Tea Party, arguably, started out as a bunch of pissed off Americans and was quickly co-opted, adopted, and is now controlled by the likes of Bachmann and Palin. It seems to me that the movement is worried about that, but from the other side. It does not want to become the “liberal tea party.” And I think that I can understand that.

    Just my two cents – and I want to reiterated that I have nothing but respect and admiration for Lewis. He is one of my heroes and I will always hold a special place in my heart for men like him.

    • Steve Golden says:

      And hence may be the actual problem with this OWS movement. If these folks think that they can affect change without a single politician/elected official, then they must be advocating anarchism. Said differently, there’s literally one way to get things done in America– have elected officials vote on it. When an elected official, particularly one as storied and fantastic as John Lewis, wants to advocate for you, you accept the damn help. Because otherwise, your message will only be lost into obscurity.

  3. hmm says:

    Also, I’d argue, but I think it is pretty obvious you can have much greater impact on elections and government from processes other than voting (at least in the U.S.). In fact, voting may be the least efficacious way of having a say.

    • Steve Golden says:

      And how many of those ways directly determine how Presidents get elected? How much money does it take to “buy” an election? If you just give a billion dollars, do they just give you the election?

      I know I’m snarking, but the cold hard fact is that the only way to win an election is to get the most votes. Period. End of story. If Democratic candidates got more votes in elections in 2010, they would have won. Period. I ran an election in 2010, and we had pretty much every dime we could have asked for. We lost. Because we didn’t have the votes.

      Look at one of a number of swing/Dem leaning districts that we lost in 2010. You know why we lost? Because far too many disillusioned people decided not to go out and vote. Christ, that election had more money than any one in American history, and yet that STILL didn’t help us. Why? Because we didn’t have the votes.

      Anyone who says that an individual’s vote does not matter loses my respect, so sorry. It’s thinking like that that flat out loses elections. The minute we embrace that perverse point of view is the minute that Democrats as a party are completely doomed.

  4. JMPrince says:

    You either agree with majority rules, or you’re basically running the modern GOP or a commune of some sort. That’s the bottom line. Some/most of which is spelled out in the Constitution. How, when or IF your votes get counted is basically also decided politically too, BTW.

    On another front, one of the folks trying to help out with a meta analysis here, (along with some post hoc rationales) is Mike Konczal of RortyBomb:
    http://rortybomb.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/parsing-the-data-and-ideology-of-the-we-are-99-tumblr/

    That’s a useful analysis of word frequency use in their [General] OWS Tumblr. Someone else helpfully noted that “It’s interesting how many of the photos taken on that blog have EXIF data showing they were taken on iPhones or Photo Booth on Macs.” Yep, ‘Les Mis’ this is not. Still the suffering is focused on different sorts of debt (student and health care related) and jobs. Nothing that I’ve not noted here & elsewhere too. JMP

  5. hmm says:

    it is cute seeing people think their vote counts.

    • Steve Golden says:

      You would contend that an individual’s vote doesn’t count?

      • hmm says:

        Yep. First, depending on which state you live in, your vote for POTUS simply won’t matter (Dems in GA, Repubs in MA etc) because of the Electoral College (yay). Second, look at close elections, there are often 5000 votes or so that decide a race. So in that close race, 1 person is .02% of the majority. That’s the rate of NCAA scholarship athletes who become pro and we certainly tell them tehy don’t have a shot at making it. Now you get down to local races, that’s a little different but by and large… yeah.

        • Steve Golden says:

          The electoral college needs to be reformed, for sure, but the fact is that most of the time, the electoral college and the popular vote coincide.

          Further, your logic about the percentage of time for which there are close elections is wholly flawed. Tell me, how can you predict when an election will be close? Because if you cannot with any definitive measure how to determine when a “close race” might occur, perhaps it’s better politics just to, I don’t know, always vote in hopes that yours is the deciding one? Or maybe, like I said below, it’s far more dangerous to not vote en masse, whence you just won’t have any elections!

  6. griftdrift says:

    From the FAQ:

    “Stack – During a General Assembly those who want to speak are put on a stack or list. Those placed on the stack are not necessarily called to speak in the order in which they are listed on the stack. The purpose of this is to allow for people whose voices may not be heard to speak first.”

    So please stop this “it’s part of the process” nonsense. This wasn’t about John Lewis speaking out of turn. This was about that one guy wanting to make the point that John Lewis is no better than anyone else.

    He made his point. Your “process” was exposed”. And now you are suffering the consequences. Deservedly so.

  7. Julianal says:

    FYI I got this from a friend on Twitter who thought it would help all of us to understand the “process” of the General Assembly.

    http://www.occupytampa.org/category/general-assembly/faq/

  8. JMPrince says:

    Yes, and please try to reinvent the purpose behind ‘majority rules’ every 30 min. just to try and tamp down on the chaos. I’ve run though half of the general Tumblr and have yet to come across the words ‘vote’ or ‘voting’. It’s been said before, if you don’t vote, you don’t count. You can cry, kick and scream, but that’s the way progress gets made. Maybe in a few years, they’ll come to that realization. Or perhaps not. JMP

    • Steve Golden says:

      A cogent and important analysis from JMP.

      I agree completely. If a single one of those folks, who have the legal right to vote, decides not to, they are a nitwit and a buffoon.

  9. griftdrift says:

    They were able to come to consensus to “rename” the park, but weren’t able to come to consensus to let John Lewis speak. If people don’t understand the absurdity of this, so be it.

    • Steve Golden says:

      I’ve been to hundreds of events over the years. At most of them, someone spoke. Often, there was an agenda and order of speakers. At no time– EVER– have I been part of an event during which a speaker was physically obscured or prevented from speaking by one person. EVER. So, truthfully “blocked” in this case is the exact same thing as “barred.” Because if I was at the OWS event, I would have slide tackled anyone trying to prevent John Lewis from speaking.

  10. Zaid says:

    This is a good write up, my acquaintance Joan Walsh understands what happened

    http://politics.salon.com/2011/10/09/john_lewis_i_support_ows_protesters/

  11. Julianal says:

    And the collective mocking begins

    http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/huston/111009

  12. griftdrift says:

    They didn’t “bar”. One person “blocked”. Isn’t that what they call it?

    • Julianal says:

      Whatever their process included a requirement for consensus, and they could block/bar someone with one no vote. That’s an awful lot of power, hope they decide to use it wisely in the future.

  13. Zaid says:

    They didn’t “bar” him from speaking, they wanted him to wait his turn. Which it turns out, he didn’t mind, at least from this interview (the 2nd video):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XCLBNkBvL0&feature=player_embedded

    It’s fine to criticize their tactics or whatever, but B4D hasn’t done very much writing at all about the 99 percent movement/occupy movement and I hope it does more constructive stuff other than complaining about something that even the person they’re complaining on behalf of didn’t mind..

    • Julianal says:

      Why should B4D say anything about this? How did this become our responsibility to cover? We’re not a monolith, anyone could have written about it, but frankly I think our collective silence says more about most things than commentary.

      Catherine can chime in here about how we have businesses to run, families to care for, other interests besides politics, gardens to tend, relationships to nurture, not to mention that many of us are working behind the scenes on long term projects.

      • Anon says:

        If you are going to be a prominent blog in the state who is comprised most of party officials and party activists, then you should not ignore one of the largest political stories of the day – especially one that bodes well for your side.

        • Steve Golden says:

          Honestly, I don’t know if it bodes well for “our side.” Like has been said, most of us don’t know what these folks actually stand for.

          And, like Juliana said, everyone who blogs here are busy, and didn’t have time to blog at the very beginning, I say, ironically noting that this very blog we are commenting on is about the very thing you say B4D has not covered.

          • Anon says:

            Well Steve, why don’t you ask Obama, Biden, Pelosi why they support it and ask almost any Republican and Peach Pundit why they hate it. Why not ask John Lewis why he wanted to speak at it and why his office has sent out press releases supporting it. Clearly, they understand what this Occupy movement is all about. The only way you can not know what it is about, especially for political activists, is to remain willfully ignorant.

            According to Adbusters, a primary protest organizer, the central demand of the protest is that President Obama “ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence money has over our representatives in Washington”.

            Peripheral demands such as raising taxes on the rich, raising taxes on corporations, ending corporate welfare, support for trade unionism, and protecting Medicare and Social Security in their traditional forms are expressed by some participants.

            • Steve Golden says:

              There is a HUGE difference between supporting OWS and supporting some of the tenets OWS espouses. To which “it” do you refer? Fact is that most of us don’t know everything they espouse, hence my personal hesitance to join the movement, so to speak.

              I’m not willfully ignorant. I think what everyone here has posted just serves to prove two central facts:

              1) Though there may be some common ideas espoused by the many OWS movements, there has yet to be any real, cogent message to take home at the end of the day.

              2) As a whole, OWS is not leveraging political capital, and in some ways seems to be intentionally shunning it.

              Look, I can’t sit here and disagree with SOME of what PP is saying. I’m not sure if I want my political views to be associated with those of anarcho-socialists and Marxo-Communists. Now is that the bulk of the movement, no, I don’t *think* so. But like I said before, tell me what the OWS movement stands for. What are they about? Prove me wrong, but don’t just regurgitate the “99%” line, because that’s not the only thing I’ve heard out of there.

              • Anon says:

                According to Adbusters, a primary protest organizer, the central demand of the protest is that President Obama “ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence money has over our representatives in Washington”.

                Peripheral demands such as raising taxes on the rich, raising taxes on corporations, ending corporate welfare, support for trade unionism, and protecting Medicare and Social Security in their traditional forms are expressed by some participants.

                • Steve Golden says:

                  Is this the organizer of the Atlanta protest? Because I’ve checked their website, and nada. I’ve also listened to participants on major news programs, and they have nothing truly cogent to say, either. You can say Adbusters says this or that, but I have yet to see anything, really.

                  On an ancillary note, I generally don’t associate myself with Anonymous (not you, the organization).

                • JMPrince says:

                  Done.
                  http://www.getmoneyout.com/

                  As they say in the Biz, google is your friend. And this is not to be seen or implied as an endorsement either. It might be a start though, one of many seen down though the years. The essential divide and the start of the huge rift started here with Buckley in 1976, likely before you were born: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckley_v._Valeo

                  Yeah, history, bitch of the ages. JMP

    • Trevor Southerland says:

      BfD isn’t a professional blog, none of us get paid to write here. Most of the writers here either professionally work in the party, are party officials, or volunteer far too much time, resources, tears and (literally) blood for the party.

      I’m glad to see these people getting active in politics, and gladly welcome them to the fold.

      I hope in 2012 they choose to occupy a ballot and vote.

    • jay says:

      The main issue is how this looks. And what it looks like is a disorganized mess where somehow a majority agreed to ask John Lewis to speak but somehow managed not to make it happen because of the objection of a few. The “jazz hands,” the “call and response,” the appearance that this General Assembly is more paralyzed than our bureaucracies, a 99% white crowd unable to agree to listen to a Civil Rights icon in a city that’s 65% black.

      The tragedy here is a missed opportunity for Occupy Atlanta and the entire movement. In the time they wasted waving their hands and listening to proposal/counter-proposal/counter-counter-proposal, the man could have said a few words in support. It would have been great news for the movement. It would have helped with outreach to POC. It was a moment to seize, not get mired in a non-hierarchical hippie-dippy meeting that seemed to have time to spare (especially since they are yet to agree on goals or a direction–have fun when each one of these groups in all of these cities comes up completely different goals). If these folks are so unreasonable and adherents to counter-culture organizational dogma (“we can’t break the rules, man”) what the hell does it hope to accomplish?

      In Pittsburgh they had a general assembly that descended into chaos because EVERY TIME they reached a majority, someone would object. People left. People were turned off by the anarchist element. They had a second meeting a week later where they were able to unanimously agree to hold a protest–but not where or for what. They’ll have another meeting to do that, as soon as they decide when to have it.

      In Philadelphia, the biggest sign I saw was “Commons not Capitalism,” yet there on their food table was–dun dun DUNNN–name-brand, corporate made food. In Houston and other cities, the movement is being taken over by Ron Paul supporters; in DC there were 9/11 conspiracy nuts.

      You’re complaining about the vast majority of progressives in this country not doing enough when you haven’t shown it’s worth our time–not for organizational flakiness; not for fringe left and fringe right sentiments. It’s OWS’ job to convince us that it’s worth our time–not the job of someone else to promote it without good reason.

  14. Steve Golden says:

    People have asked me (liberal, progressive, outspoken, commie pinko nutbag) why I haven’t “joined” or “endorsed” this OWS movement. That’s why, Juliana. Well said. Hell, I’m in favor of the only ideal they’ve articulated (and that’s only some of them) in the “99%” idea. But damn, the execution is not only lacking, it’s nonexistent.

  15. Ed says:

    “now I’m overtly hostile to you and your dumbass movement.”

    lol. this is what it took for you? lol.

    • Julianal says:

      Like I said, I was willing to cut them some slack..it’s a movement in its infancy I can appreciate that. Messy and such. What I can’t abide is lack of class and buzz words taking the place of actual quality organizing.

  16. JMPrince says:

    Shameful & pitifully disgraceful on so many levels it makes your head spin.

    Obviously what we need more of in this country in these perilous desperate times is ever more pig ignorant inchoate know-nothingism making demands of ‘the system’ they abjectly refuse to participate in and obviously barely understand. Far worse is their evident steadfast refusal to acknowledge or recognize that their demands can not be met in any other arena other than by politics.

    As reported by the APN the OA/OT deamnds start:

    “We demand greater democratic control in all spheres of life, from the home to the government, from the economy to the workplace. It is a moral, logical and political imperative that people should be in control of their own lives to the greatest extent possible”.

    I’m sorry, but ALL of the listed demands have been various political projects for sometimes well over 100 years. That’s the true process of reform. What we’ve here got is a protest moment that’s seemingly well divorced from the common streams of history, and certainly with the most successful cause for economic, legal and moral reform of the last 60 years, which was well represented by Civil Rights hero Cong. Lewis.

    So like it or not, they screwed up royally, SSDD. CBS Atlanta came away with the same ‘Lewis not allowed to speak’ interpretation of what went down:
    http://www.cbsatlanta.com/story/15630309/occupy-wall-street-protests-come-to-atlanta

    The fact that it’s evidently some tweaky bearded white dude (pictured by CL) that (in part) caused this to happen is doubly ironic. Yeah, it’s not the first time some likely white privileged dude was able to tell John Lewis to ‘get to the back of the bus’, but that it was done by folks who ostensibly want what he’s been fighting hard for all his life? Just priceless Dude! The mind boggles. JMP

  17. Peaches says:

    The whole leaderless thing reminds me of those un-conferences. Good in theory, but spotty in practice. Maybe I’m old, but I’d rather hear John Lewis speak than anyone in that park, or anyone in the city for that matter.

  18. APN Editor says:

    Let me say, I don’t agree with John Lewis on all things. However, I am outraged that Occupy Atlanta did not allow him to speak and made him stand there through a nine minute debate–which was poorly moderated–about whether to let him speak.

  19. Stacey Hopkins says:

    I was there and watched it all go down in utter disbelief; I left shortly afterwards. Some of the participants apparently had no idea of the living history Rep. Lewis had in non-violent movements of which they are basing their occupation upon and even less of Sen. Fort’s fight against predatory lenders in Georgia for many years of which he still continues to do and others feel that because they we both part of the government, were obviously a part of the evil government (even tough ironically they will subsequently extol the virtues of Ron Paul and others; isn’t he part of the government?) and were clearly there to co-opt the group for the Democratic Party. I mean, it’s so obvious, isn’t it?

    There’s a lot of BS spin being put on this by Occupy Atlanta by explaining about the lack of understanding the consensus process and that there was an agenda to be followed, but as one who was on one of the Committees, there was no agenda; the plan was that they had no plan to begin with.

    Had there been an agenda as alleged, then why not explain to both Rep. Lewis and Sen. Fort of the period when comments would be allowed in said agenda and they could then go on ‘stack’ like everyone else? The choice then could have been left up to them whether to wait until that time or come back later, but it was decided to put it to a consensus vote to allow them to speak at that time which the facilitator took it upon himself to introduce. The realization that both men might have things to do went far beyond the heads of those who apparently have a inferiority complex as the initial objection referred to Rep. Lewis and Sen. Fort was interpreted by one of the participants as being superior to the groups merely for the request even being broached and was picked up by others.

    Rep. Lewis was gracious and understanding in his comments, and I expected nothing less from him, but I expected far more from the Occupy Atlanta group. However, they lowered the bar. They are attempting damage control by saying the group did allow him to speak, but that was done AFTER he and Sen. Fort left the park; I believe they have asked him to return and to his credit and class; he probably will.

    To me, it was like someone coming to your house and you’re arguing in the doorway with your people as to whether to let them in all while they are expected to watch. I don’t blame them in leaving and many of the Black activist/community organizers in the crowd (myself being one of them) were in utter shock and disbelief at what we witnessed but for me, that was the exit sign blinking brightly — this wasn’t going to be the place for me.

    What I witnessed last night was shameful indeed and didn’t start the Atlanta venture off on the right foot at all. I came home, removed my self from the Facebook and Google groups and will continue to direct my time and energy to those who have been working hard for years in this city and ironically, couldn’t get the numbers like this unless they played the electric slide.

    • Julianal says:

      thank you for providing a detail and clarity that in my anger was clearly missing.

      I truly appreciate movement politics, I’ve been involved since the 80’s and is mystified by folks who want to repeat the lost lessons not learned.

      Trust me when I say we have allies, and while they may not necessarily come packaged the way some folks want, they are allies never the less. Cong. John Lewis is one of them. I could have busted out my Anarchist credentials, but to what use? based on my clothing and all sorts of other visual criteria I would have been marginalized. This is why mob rule is never a good idea, regardless of the mob.

  20. Julianal says:

    splitting hairs on process is stupid… just straight up stupid

  21. Jason A says:

    “Despite saying he did not want to speak, the civil rights icon was invited to address to the crowd. When the topic of allowing Lewis to speak was presented to the group, “Joe” (pictured in red) held up his arms to “block” Lewis from speaking.

    “Joe” said he was against Lewis speaking because the movement is “not about one individual” and that it has been built on the idea of “no hierarchy.” The crowd decided the congressman could speak after the General Assembly, but Lewis had to leave for a previous engagement. ”

    I love the Congressmen, too (arguably, no one loves him more that Jules). But it seems here that he left without speaking, not that he left because he wasn’t allowed to speak.

  22. Jason A says:

    Hmmm… Creative Loafing seems to disagree with your interpretation of events. http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2011/10/08/4092153-photo-of-the-day-john-lewis-at-occupy-atlanta

  23. Julianal says:

    @sndeak, given everything, if the man wanted to read the back of a toothpaste tube they should have let him.

    I was at the One Nation Rally last year, what a huge stupid distraction they were. It’s not easy to be involved, as you know and one street action isn’t’ a movement it’s an outing, not the same thing at all.

  24. sndeak says:

    Dammmmnnnn! That’s gonna leave a mark.